There are all sorts of different jobs out there, and some involve more risk than others. Many working positions require heavy labor or working around dangerous elements. That being said, even the safest and most commonplace of positions still have some element of risk involved.
Accidents at the workplace are more common than we like to believe. The fall out from these injuries can be quite serious. Medical bills can be hard to manage, and the injuries can keep a person out of work for weeks or even months. Without some sort of support, a person can drown under their financial obligations.
That’s why it’s essential that all employees understand what do following an accident at the workplace. Read on, and we’ll walk you through the steps one needs to take when they have been injured while on the clock.
Injuries In The Workplace
There are a variety of injuries that can happen in the modern workplace. A person might injure themselves while carrying a heavy object. They might get sick after being exposed to some kind of gas. There are slip and falls, cuts and slashes, and serious construction accidents.
The threat of workplace accidents is so real that the government actually requires most employers to have a plan in place if such a thing were to occur. According to the legal experts at Shuman Legal, employers are required to take out a worker’s compensation insurance policy to help cover the costs of these injuries.
Medical bills and lost wages are enough to sink a person’s financial well-being. The costs can truly be insurmountable, especially with the prices to be found in today’s medical marketplace. A person will need to rely on compensation from these insurance policies in order to remain secure as they recover from their injuries.
There’s an important step by step process an individual needs to go through in order to receive compensation through a worker’s compensation insurance plan. Failure to properly follow these steps could result in the loss of access to this all-important compensation.
As an employee, it is essential you understand what you need to following an accident. Familiarizing yourself with these steps prior to an incident occurring will better prepare you for what actions you need to take.
Report The Incident or Accident
If you’ve been injured, the first thing you’ll need to be concerned about is your own safety. Adrenaline kicks in after an injury or shock, so you might not initially be aware of just how severe it really is.
If the injury itself is serious, you should seek medical attention immediately. Don’t wait.
You may not think the injury is that severe, and you may even consider ignoring it altogether. This can be a BIG MISTAKE. Even if you think an injury is minor, it is imperative to report it right away to your employer. You never know when something might reveal itself to be more serious.
Filing a report is the best possible way to ensure protection for yourself. Many injuries become worse or don’t reveal themselves until time has passed. Having a report on hand will ensure there is a written record of your accident.
It can also help to ensure your employer implements new safety procedures that will help to prevent other employees from getting injured in the future. It’s important to learn from mistakes and reporting your injury will be an important part of that process.
Depending on what state you reside in, there will likely be limits on how long you have to report an injury and be covered. In some states, you have ten days, in others, you may have less.
Reporting an accident at the workplace as soon as possible will be in your best interest as well as your employer’s. It will help to prevent claims of fraud, which sometimes does happen.
Fill Out An Accident Report
Once you notify your employer of the accident, they should furnish you with an accident report. You will be required to detail what happened and the extent of your injuries. Your employer needs this form to present to the insurance company. The sooner they can present it to the insurance company, the better.
Make sure you keep your own copy of the report as well. You can request a copy if one isn’t given to you.
These forms will vary depending on where you live and what insurance company your employer has a policy with. Your employer will likely be able to walk you through the requirements and any questions you have while filling out the form.
Your employer should put NO pressure on you to forgo filling out a report. If your employer is any way indicating that you shouldn’t fill a report out, you need to speak to an attorney. This kind of action is completely illegal. If this were to happen, you might even have a case against them.
Seek Medical Treatment
The first thing you’ll need to do after filling out your form is to go see a doctor. This will be important both to your long-term health and your worker’s compensation case.
A doctor will be able to evaluate your injuries, prescribe medication and care, and decide whether you need to take off from work and for how long. They will put you back on the path towards recovery.
They will also be able to provide a written statement that details your medical state. This will be an incredibly important piece of evidence in your worker’s compensation case. The insurance company will want to know exactly how you were injured, the extent of your injuries, and the costs involved in caring for them.
In order to comply with the worker’s compensation requirements, you may have to forgo visiting your normal doctor. Instead, you may need to go to a doctor that is chosen by your employer or by your employer’s insurance company.
The reason an insurance company does this is so that they are sure you will visit a doctor that they can afford. They don’t want you to visit someone that will be very expensive for them to cover. The doctor under coverage will be willing to work for the fee the insurance company has stipulated.
That being said, if you are unhappy or uncertain about the results of this doctor’s visit, you can always go to your own doctor for a second opinion. You should keep copies of all medical records and bills you receive.
Do You Need To Hire An Attorney?
Many worker’s compensation cases proceed without the need for an attorney. Once you get the proper information to the insurance company, they should process this case and notify you of the coverage amount they are willing to pay.
This compensation should cover your medical costs, as well as the lost wages you are losing if you need to step away from work to recover.
Failure to cover these things might indicate that you are not getting the compensation that you deserve. If you think an insurance company is low-balling you, it might be worth getting an experienced attorney involved.
An attorney will be able to fight for you and represent you, and ensure you get the proper amount of compensation from an insurance company. They might even be able to make a case that you deserve more than you initially assumed.
If your injury at work was due to unsafe working conditions, you might also have a personal injury case on your hands. If you were harmed because your employer acted irresponsibly, it can be better to see an attorney.
When you file for a worker’s compensation plan, you forgo your right to sue your employer. As such, it can be important to speak to an attorney right away following your injury to decide if you have a case. You will need to make a quick decision, and an attorney will be able to help you get to that.
Employee Negligence and ‘No Fault’
The reverse isn’t true, either. Most worker’s compensation policies work under the legal idea of ‘no-fault.’ That means even if an employee was injured as a result of their own negligence, they still have a right to compensation.
An employer can not prevent an employee from signing up from worker’s compensation, even if an injury was in some way’s that employee’s fault.
Only employer negligence can result in a lawsuit.
Accident at the Workplace: What To Do
An accident at the workplace is not something to take lightly. It’s important to follow the proper procedure when it comes to these incidents so that one’s financial future is safe and secure.
Need more legal advice, tips, and tricks? Check out our blog for more.
Readers Might Also Like: